It was a great day for Ramapo baseball this Saturday, as Roadrunners old and new were invited to the program’s annual Alumni Day at Jeff Maund Memorial Field. This was a special day as the 2015 squad were awarded their participant rings for winning the NCAA New England Regional Championship, as well as advancing to the Division III College World Series.
Excitement filled the air as head coach Rich Martin called out the names of his players to receive their rings. After all their hard work last season, there were smiles from ear to ear on each player.
“Winning a ring is one of the greatest experiences of my entire life,” said pitcher Walker Larson, who posted a 10-3 record on the mound in his senior year last season with a 2.03 ERA and 96 strikeouts. “I never really won any sort of championship growing up or in high school, so winning regionals and earning a trip to the World Series for my final season was a dream come true.”
It was a dream season for this squad, who advanced to the College World Series for the second time in school history and the first time in 31 years. They won the Division III College World Series back in 1984.
The team posted a 33-16 record last season including a 13-1 record at home.
The day was more than the ring ceremony, as players both new and old split into two teams to play a nice friendly game. Some of the returning players from the 1984 championship team laced up for the game, as well.
Looking to emulate the seasons of the past, this year’s squad is optimistic that a repeat could most definitely happen.
“I expect big things this year,” said sophomore pitcher, Jerry D’Andrea, “but everyone has to help out. It has to be a collective effort since it’s not a senior heavy team anymore.”
Larson, who graduated last May, comes back this season as an assistant coach. He is also positive this team can make a push toward a repeat.
“From a coach’s perspective, this team has all the tools to go back to the World Series,” said Larson. “Joe Venturino, who honestly may be the best hitter in all of Division III baseball, returns this year, and on top of that, Ryan Rinksy is the best defensive catcher in the nation. Between them, Scott Paulus, and other experienced guys, this team has great leadership.”
The team looks to make an even bigger splash entering the 2016 season, but for now, they cherish the memories of this past year and how it felt to achieve such an astonishing feat.
“The day that we won regionals, dog piled each other on the field and celebrated earning a berth to the World Series was probably the greatest day of my life," Larson said.